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Magazine On-line [fall 2007]
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Challenge grant met for Boyarsky Science Lab

Transylvania biology professor emeritus Lila Boyarsky was a fixture in the Carnegie Science Building and its successor, the Brown Science Center, for 36 years as she taught generations of Transy students the intricacies of genetics and other biological mysteries while maintaining a famously large hamster colony.

It seems only appropriate, then, that she will be the first to have a room named in her honor in the renovated Brown Science Center through the creation of the Lila Boyarsky Science Laboratory.

The recognition will come as the result of a $100,000 challenge grant provided by Joe Coons ’73, a former student of Boyarsky’s and member of the Transylvania Board of Trustees, and more than $150,000 in gifts and pledges that represents an outpouring of support from approximately 170 other alumni and friends.

“I’m very grateful to all of those who responded to this challenge and joined me in creating this well deserved honor,” said Coons. “It reaffirms my belief that Dr. Boyarsky influenced so many Transy students by teaching us not just biology, but also all the ways to be a good student.”

When President Charles L. Shearer announced the challenge grant during Alumni Weekend 2006, he spoke of the influence that special teachers like Boyarsky can have on their students’ lives.

“If we sat and thought about it, all of us could name teachers whose passion for education and sincere interest in students affected the course of our lives,” he said. “This is Joe’s way of saying ‘Thank you, Dr. Boyarksy,’ for making a difference in his life. The response to the challenge grant shows that many others feel the same way.”

Boyarsky, who taught at Transylvania from 1955-57 and 1958-91, became one of the University’s longest tenured and most honored professors. She was among the first recipients of the Bingham Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1988.

The Boyarsky Laboratory will be a distinctive part of the $8 million renovation of Brown Science Center, opened in 1970 to replace the 1908 Carnegie Science Building. Two renovated physics labs and a striking new biology lab are already in use as part of the project. Existing biology labs and the chemistry labs are scheduled for renovation during the summers of 2008 and 2009.

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